Baby hip dysplasia and the pavlik harness is something I've been meaning to cover. Should you have a hip problem, like myself, it is worth getting your babies double checked. They say first born girls and breech are most likely to develop this, my daughter was neither, she was second born and cephalic presenting. My personal experience with my daughter Isabella is below and also I have set up a facebook support group forum at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HipDysplasiaInBabies/ which is a great place to meet other parents in the same boat.
My daughter, now one, slipped through the hospital first day check, health visitor's first week check and doctor's 6 week check. They spread the legs backward to see if the hips click and dislocate. The trouble is, that does not cover all the bases..My daughter, Izzy, her hips never actually dislocated out of the socket.
By 4 and a half months my hubby and myself grew increasingly concerned at Izzy's leg length discrepancy, we had passed it off as that new born twisted, scrunched up look, they often have as newborns and so had the professionals. I was reassured several times over. Until one day the LLD Leg length discrepancy struck me as dramatically obvious. I googled it (thank God for google!!) and she ticked a lot of the boxes and thought I'm almost sure this is her problem. Then took her back again to my GP.
He insisted 1cm LLD was normal ..I pointed out 1 cm on an adult maybe, but on a baby 56cms long, I wasn't so sure he was right that that was normal. At this time I had no idea I had a hip problem too, just ongoing pain from 'something' and said I wasn't prepared for them to also miss something on my daughter and wouldn't leave without a scan for her!
I got the scan for Izzy 2 weeks later and she did have hip dysplasia. Her acatabulum was 10 degrees away from normal and was too shallow. For some reason and they said congenital, her left hip hadn't fully developed. They asked who had a hip problem within my immediate family, I said no-one that I knew of, the irony! (within a month I found out my mystery pain of 6 years was my hip too)
She was immediately put into a pavlik harness.
The pavlik harness was something I'd worried about a great deal when reading up on dysplasia, but its actually very straight forward to use. It's light, its easy to wash and its best for you if you make permanant ink marks where the straps are set so you can KNOW where to fasten it if you take it off and want to put it back on and you'll become aware when they're growing too as the markers need to move. It can cause babies to have a little more wind that usual, but certainly in our case nothing significant.
The biggest nightmare was her wardrobe. She couldn't wear trousers, babygrows (unless super large) or any dress that wasn't designed to flare out as they would simply ride up to tee shirt height! So she wore party dresses the whole time because they all kicked out at the chest like little princess dresses!!
The other difficulty was seating her. Our pram, the bugaboo was fine and I believe the quinny zap is wide and good with a harness also, probably the vest in my experience because of its wide seat shape. The stoke highchair also fine. Maxi cosi rear facing car seat was ok, with a little cushion under her bottom to boost her and allow her hips to spread out. I also understand there is a special britax seat designed for this should your child be older, or in a pot version. There are products, but it can get expensive and it seems unnecessary for hopefully such a temporary length of time.
So at a LATE four and a half months (best results, if applied before 6 weeks) she began wearing her pavlik harness. Initially 24 hours everyday for 6 weeks. At the end of six weeks she only moved 1 degree and they said surgery would be the next step should she not progress and to brace ourselves as she was now six months and very few babies made progress after 6 months. However we went along with it, for another 6 weeks of wearing the pavlik harness night and day. She was allowed an hour of per day, but we couldn't see the point, other than for bathing, as it upset her more to put it back on. Once on, she barely noticed the pavlik harness, although in the final weeks seemed to kick against it. In the last month she suddenly had a growth spurt and this I am 100% sure is what caused the harness to suddenly work as at our next assessment she progressed the full 10 degrees! We were stunned! Thank you thank you thank you is all we could think.
She worn the pavlik harness until seven and a half months old. It delayed her sitting at six months, but within literally 2 weeks of the pavlik harness coming off, she could sit unaided AND CRAWL!! The harness actually really strengthened her legs! Now she is walking and ahead of a lot of her peers, which is a real shock! Do not fear it will hold your child back. Having said that as you can see just after the harness was removed she did sit in THE MOST unladylike fashion!!
We do still however have a couple of concerns, in that she favours her good leg and there is still a twist to her, but we are assured all is well and that as she becomes more mobile, using all those muscles, that these problems will disappear.
All in all its not the most pleasant thing to put your baby through, but honestly it'll probably irritate you more than them, Your biggest problems will be highchairs and clothes (but girls, its a great excuse to buy all those frufru dresses and they go for a song, virtually unworn other than for the odd occasion, on ebay!)
She has just had her one year assessment and all is looking well ...so most importantly we might just have saved her from a lifetime of pain and operations.
Ironically it prompted those around me to consider my hip as the source of my 6 year unexplained pain, so 'she' probably also saved me from a lifetime of pain too!
Anyone readying this retrospectively contact me directly if you need any help/advice re how to cope with the pavlik harness etc, I'm at email@example.com
ps ask for 2 pavlik harness from the hospital, they won't automatically give you two and should you have a spill or nappy disaster it makes life easier!
I have just set up a facebook support group, in the groups section of facebook called 'hip dysplasia in babies' (clicky hips or CHD, DDH) I have put on LOTS of links to advice pages, to make it easier for others to search for advice, equipment, help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/HipDysplasiaInBabies/
Also as more people find this facebk support group, we can help each other.
Best of luck!